Zverev powers through in opener

Zverev powers through in opener

Zverev powers through in opener

Mischa Zverev powered past Australian qualifier John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 7-5 to enter the second round of the Brisbane International on Monday.

Eighth seed Zverev fired four aces in the match and converted five out of six break points to come through in an hour and 28 minutes. The German will meet the winner of Tuesday's match between Argentine Federico Delbonis and American Michael Mmoh.

Earlier, local hope Matthew Ebden dumped out Frances Tiafoe with a 6-3, 6-2 victory that set up an all-Australian second round clash with the big-serving Nick Kyrgios.

"Nick has obviously got a great serve," Ebden said, looking ahead to Wednesday's match.

"That's one of his biggest weapons that carried him through well over the past few years, with the upsets and good results that he's had. He's obviously good around the court. He moves well for a big guy.

"Last year I played (Ivo) Karlovic, I played (John) Isner, these kind of guys. So I wouldn't say Nick's serve is maybe as big or as tall as those guys', but he's obviously very accurate and uses it well."

Ryan Harrison downed Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 while fellow American Jared Donaldson eased past Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-4.

Horacio Zeballos needed 72 minutes to beat Ernesto Escobedo 6-3, 6-4 and meets Alexandr Dolgopolov next.

Kvitova withdraws

Meanwhile, twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the women's section with a viral illness.

The 27-year-old Czech was unable to take the court in her first round match against Estonian Anett Kontaveit and was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Heather Watson.

"I'm really disappointed to withdraw from the Brisbane International," Kvitova was quoted as saying on the WTA website.

However, there was no shortage in action as  Johanna Konta made a shaky start to the new season before battling past US Open finalist Madison Keys and into the second round.

Konta, who prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, needed two hours and eight minutes to quell the challenge of her American opponent as her usually reliable serve sputtered early on before eventually coming to her rescue at the Pat Rafter Arena.

Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich came from behind to upset sixth seed Kristina Mladenovic 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 while Elina Svitolina beat Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-4. Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko then stunned eighth seed Ashleigh Barty 6-3, 6-2.

Halep, Sharapova  win

World number one Simona Halep began the year in emphatic style with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Nicole Gibbs as Maria Sharapova also romped through her first-round match at the Shenzhen Open  in China.

Romania's Halep, who will be seeking her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in two weeks' time, struck 12 winners to blitz the 110th-ranked American in one hour and nine minutes.

"We had a big crowd, which was nice to play in front of," Halep said after her first-round match in the southern Chinese city, where she won in 2015.

Meanwhile five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, making her Shenzhen debut, also despatched Romania's world number 59 Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 6-0 in an hour and 20 minutes.  

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